Ignition keys – what you need to know
With modern technology advancing so fast these days car keys are getting more and more sophisticated as well. Car companies make it a priority to install the most advanced lock systems on their cars so once you get locked out of your vehicle the process of getting you back in is getting more intricate as well. most newer models have advanced technologies installed both in the car as well as on your Ignition Keys that offer very high security and peace of mind to car owners. These security measures usually include transponder chips that allow your car to recognize the key being used to open the car, many times wirelessly even before you put your key inside the switch. While it does make a car thief’s life much harder, it also requires locksmith technicians to stay up to date with the various security systems and measures used to protect vehicles.
Most established locksmith companies employ specific locksmith technicians who are highly trained in Ignition Keys specific field and who are specifically knowledgeable about the various security systems involving car security systems. Furthermore many of today’s newer models have an actual computer installed within the body of the car which communicate to the various parts of the vehicle including the door locks and the ignition switch.
These security measures vary depending on the model, make and year of the vehicle and therefore the price to service your car depends on these variables. When calling for locksmith service for your car make sure to have this information handy so that the locksmith technician knows to prepare the relevant materials and blanks before heading out to your location.
Furthermore, all cars carry a unique Vehicle Identification Number number. Commonly abbreviated to VIN (but sometimes incorrectly referred to as VIN number), is a unique serial number used by the automotive industry to identify individual vehicles. Prior to 1981, there was no accepted standard for these numbers, so different manufacturers used different formats. However since 1981, these codes consist of 17 characters which do not include the letters I (i), O (o), or Q (q) (to avoid confusion with numerals 1 and 0). Your car’s VIN number is listed on the registration document of your vehicle and will be required by the locksmith technician to produce a new ignition key for your specific car.
Newer cars have transponder chips installed in the body of your key. These transponder chips communicate with your vehicle and provide an added measure of security. Older style mechanical metal car keys are rapidly being replaced by “smart keys” that are usually laser cut and are far more sophisticated (and therefore more costly to replicate) then the old type locks. Some cars, like the Toyota Prius, have an entirely electronic key (called a fob) that controls both doors as well as the ignition switch.
Costs: The Boston Globe quoted a survey that was conducted back in 2007 listing the minimum cost to replace a smart key at $150 – far more then the cost of producing an old-style metal key. That cost can be as high as $350 and up, depending on the model, make and year of your specific car. When you must get a replacement key from a dealer, you may have to wait several days as well as paying more. The Ignition Keys exact cost depends partly on the make of the car. For example, a replacement key for a Prius averages $300.
Some car companies (especially the higher end car makers) require you to contact their dealership directly for additional keys. Generally speaking it is cheaper to get a locksmith to make those type of keys for you as dealerships are known to charge higher fees for keys as well as take at least a few days to produce a new key for you. In the past car makers used to make it intentionally hard for clients to receive the codes required to make keys for the vehicles so that they can monopolize that business as well. In 2008, California became the first state to require automobile companies to make their codes available to clients and locksmiths. Consumer groups like the American Automobile Association are working to make this a national standard so that car owners have the freedom to make keys for their vehicles independently.
It’s highly recommended to have a backup key made in case you lose a key or accidentally lock your keys in your car. You can also have a simple metal copy of a smart key made and it will usually work in the door lock, just not in the ignition. However, consider investing in a backup smart key. It will save you time ad money rather than not having the use of your car for several days while you wait for a replacement as well as any emergency service costs that may be charged to the Ignition Keys service provided to you by a locksmith company.